- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 29, 2005

CLEVELAND (AP) — Returning an Ohio man accused of being a Nazi concentration camp guard to his native Ukraine would be like throwing him “into a shark tank,” his attorney argued yesterday.

John Demjanjuk, an 85-year-old retired autoworker, has been fighting for nearly 30 years to stay in the United States, and his attorney said he should not be deported to the Ukraine because he could face torture there.

But the Justice Department said Demjanjuk has not shown that he would be mistreated.

Demjanjuk lost his U.S. citizenship after a judge ruled in 2002 that documents from World War II prove he was a Nazi guard at various death or forced labor camps. Yesterday’s hearing in front of an immigration judge was part of a process for determining whether he will be deported.

The United States first tried to deport Demjanjuk in 1977, accusing him of being a notorious guard known as Ivan the Terrible at the Treblinka concentration camp. Demjanjuk was extradited to Israel, convicted and sentenced to hang, but the Israeli Supreme Court found that someone else apparently was Ivan.

Demjanjuk returned the United States, and his U.S. citizenship was restored before being lifted again in 2002.

The current case is based on evidence uncovered by the Justice Department saying he was a different guard. Demjanjuk has denied the accusations.

His attorney, John Broadley, said that the U.S. government never sufficiently disavowed its claim that Demjanjuk was Ivan and that Demjanjuk fears he will be tortured if he returns to the Ukraine.

“We have a situation the U.S. government created, and now he still carries a blood scent of Ivan the Terrible, and this would be like throwing him with that blood scent into a shark tank,” Mr. Broadley said.

The Justice Department has suggested that the judge consider deporting Demjanjuk to Poland or Germany. Mr. Broadley said there is no indication that another country would be willing to accept him.

The judge is expected to issue a decision within 30 days.

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